December 19, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (11-112) asking about your ethical responsibilities when the District Attorney’s new plea bargaining procedure provides that the defendant or defendant’s counsel mail the completed plea agreement to the court to await signature by the assistant DA at his/her next court appearance.
This Committee has previously determined that it is not appropriate for a local court to allow the prosecution to use the court’s address in order to receive his/her mail regarding a plea bargain. To do so creates the impression that the court is aligned with the prosecutor, thus calling into question the court’s impartiality.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 10-177 and 99-82 which relate to this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)